Yet another 1950s madman resurrected by wacky scientists
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 09/25/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hollywood just couldn't get enough of clumsy, oafish, neo-Frankenstein monsters in the 1950s, as this movie demonstrates quite well. Lon Chaney, Jr., looking like a cross between Babe Ruth and Walter Matthau, plays Charles "Butcher" Benton, a death row inmate who swears revenge on his partners in crime for turning states' evidence and helping earn him a date with the gas chamber. I'm not sure why they call him the Butcher, though; as far as we are told, all he did was help hold up an armored car, steal 600 grand, and hide it where no one, especially his partners, would ever find it - looking back, the whole hiding all the money thing may have a lot to do with his partners' selling him out to the cops, but you just try explaining that to Butcher yourself. One must assume he killed someone during the heist - either that, or he was a meat butcher before he turned to a life of crime. He swears he will kill the guys who ratted him out, a threat that his three former partners scoff at for the logical reason that the Butcher is a day away from being executed. What they don't know is that the Butcher has a plan; in a brilliant move, he allows himself to be killed, fully confident that, against all the odds in the world, some crazy doctor will bribe some morgue attendant into selling him his corpse, at which point the doctor will, in looking for a cure for cancer, accidentally bring the Butcher back to life with several hundred thousand volts of electricity and give him superhuman strength and a skin that even Ginzu knives cannot penetrate. This is exactly what happens. (Actually, the Butcher doesn't really make any plans to back up his seemingly hollow threats at all; he just gets lucky.)
Granted a second lease on life, missing only the ability to speak due to the debilitating effect massive volts of electricity have on the human vocal cords, he decides it's about time to start earning that nickname he loves so dearly. While all of this is happening, a bland police detective named Dick Chasen (played rather woodenly by Max Showalter) remains committed to finding the stolen money and implicating the three spineless hoods who helped Butcher carry out the heist, although it is entirely possible that he is just using this as an excuse for him to begin putting the moves on the Butcher's old burlesque dancer girlfriend. Eventually, all of these characters and plot points come together for as satisfying an end as you might expect (this is a criticism, not a note of praise), but in the meantime Lon Chaney Jr. stumbles around like a drunk man with one wooden leg, occasionally scrunching his face up into what is supposed to be a fierce expression as the camera zooms in for a close-up. As far as urban Frankenstein-esque movies go, Indestructible Man isn't that bad; the decision to have Chaney utter no lines whatsoever after his execution and resurrection seems like a wise move, but then you think about how many additional lines this threw Max Showalter's way. Realizing you can't win either way, you immediately begin to forget everything about this rather dull sort-of-monster movie."
J. Pinkerton Snoopington | Toronto, Ontario, Canada | 12/29/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"For fans of classic horror of those who want unintentional hilarity, "The Indestructable Man" with Lon Chaney Jr. is nothing special. The story involves a thief known as 'the butcher' who is sent to the electric chair. After his execution, some scientists bring him back to life by electricity (kind of like Frankenstein). The now-indestructable butcher goes on a three day quest to kill those who have wronged him in the past and collect his money (what do you suppose this indestructable hulking mute would do with the money, anyway?). While the film's low budget texture gives it a nifty atmosphere, Chaney had given far more interesting performances in the past and this potboiler is certainly no better than any other suspense thriller of the day.
The DVD from a bargain bin company called 'St. Clair Vision' claims to be "carefully restored for the best possible picture quality." That's a laugh. While not unwatchable, the image is fuzzy and scratchy with poor contrast and thin sound. Obviously there are no extras, so all this disc has going for it is the low price tag."
Not Too Bad
David L. Schoon | Norwich, Ct United States | 11/15/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie isn't as bad as you might think. Lon Chaney Jr plays a bank robber who is turned in by his supposed friends and dies in the gas chamber. He is brought back to life by an experiment gone awry by a "mad" scientist who is looking for a cure for cancer. After killing the doctor and his assistant Chaney goes after the people who double crossed him. Shades of Frankenstein and the return of the zombie."